From Comcast SportsNetHOUSTON (AP) -- The Houston fans knew the Rockets were on the verge of history against Golden State on Tuesday night, needing one more 3-pointer to set an NBA record.Warriors coach Mark Jackson wasn't going to let that happen.The Rockets settled for tying an NBA record and set a franchise mark with 23 3-pointers in a 140-109 win over the Warriors. Houston matched the single-game record for 3s set by Orlando in a win over Sacramento on Jan. 13, 2009.The Toyota Center crowd realized the outright record was within reach in the final three minutes, chanting "One more 3!" But the Warriors took away Houston's chances of getting it by fouling at the end."We're not going to lay down," Jackson said. "If you're going to try to get the record, we're going to stop it."The Warriors should've employed that plan sooner.Jeremy Lin sank five 3-pointers, a career high, and Chandler Parsons and James Harden hit four apiece as the Rockets reached a season-high point total. They also tied an NBA record with 14 3-pointers in the first half and dished out a season-high 35 assists on 46 field goals overall."Thankfully, we were just able to get a bunch of open looks and knock them down," Lin said. "That's just the way it is sometimes."Lin scored 28 points, Harden added 18 and Parsons had 16 for Houston. The Rockets put on the shooting display without their best 3-point shooter -- Carlos Delfino, who sat out with a right elbow injury."We just got hot tonight," Harden said.Jarrett Jack scored 20 points and David Lee had 18 for the Warriors. Stephen Curry, averaging 21 points per game, scored only seven points on 3-for-12 shooting.Houston set a Toyota Center scoring record and reached 140 points for the first time since April 1995."Throughout the whole game, you figured they'd cool off," Curry said. "But we have to force them to take tougher shots. You just can't give them open looks."The Rockets were 18 of 27 from 3-point range through three quarters. They finally hit a dry spell early in the fourth, missing their first three 3-point attempts. It didn't last long -- Marcus Morris connected on a 3 from the wing and Parsons flashed him a smile as the two trotted back down the court.With the outcome decided, Rockets coach Kevin McHale pulled his starters with 5:49 left, leaving the pursuit of the NBA record to the reserves. By then, everyone on Houston bench knew the record was within reach."Obviously, the amount of 3s we hit is pretty ridiculous," Parsons said. "We were open, and nobody is going to turn down open shots."The fans were ready to explode anticipating the record-setting 3. Reserve point guard Patrick Beverley drove for a one-handed dunk with 1:04 remaining, prompting a mix of cheers and groans.Beverley took a hard foul from Draymond Green on a 3-point try with 34 seconds left. Beverley and Green snapped at one another, prompting a heated argument between several players. Green and Morris were ejected."Some nights, it's not your night and it wasn't ours and we didn't play particularly well," Jackson said. "That doesn't mean, lay down and surrender. That's not in our DNA."But the Warriors had to be a bit demoralized, because the Rockets seemed to make every outside shot they took. They went 7 for 10 from 3-point range in the first quarter and 14 for 18 in the first half. Milwaukee had 14 3s in a half against Phoenix in March 2006 and New York matched that total twice last season -- against Portland on March 14 and against Boston on April 17.Curry, though, had the most spectacular shot before the break, just beating the buzzer with a half-court shot to cut Houston's lead to 77-62.But Golden State's perimeter defense was no better in the third quarter, and 3-pointers by Parsons and Lin stretched the gap past 20. Harrison Barnes ran out to guard Lin on his next 3-point attempt, and Lin blew by him for a layup and an 87-64 Houston lead."They were hitting the open looks, they were hitting the contested shots," Lee said. "And then when they hit outside jumpers, their shot fake works because you have to close out tighter. They shot the ball great, really from top to bottom."Notes: The Warriors have lost 15 of their last 17 games against the Rockets, and nine in a row in Houston. ... Golden State dropped to 8-1 this season when scoring at least 30 points in the first quarter. ... The Rockets set season highs for first-quarter and first-half points. ... Houston had never had more than 17 3-pointers in a game.
Highlights from the Boston Celtics 97-92 win at home against the Sacramento Kings
BRIGHTON, Mass. – It certainly doesn’t feel like it will go on forever this way for the Bruins, but at this point it’s essentially a case of musical left wings on the David Krejci line as it’s been for much of this season.
Ryan Spooner has spent the majority of the season adjusting to playing the wing with Krejci, and has been just okay trying to play away from his natural center spot while using his speed and playmaking on the wing. But the speedy Spooner also spent his share of time lately on the fourth line after getting off to a slow offensive start this season with three goals and eight points along with a minus-1 rating in 23 games.
The bouncing between the second and fourth line has undoubtedly been frustrating for the 24-year-old getting pushed off his natural position after posting 49 points in his first full year as a third line center. But Spooner has continued to toe the company line, work on keeping his confidence high for a productive offensive season and do what he needs to in an effort to get off a fourth line.
That’s opened the door for hard-nosed former Providence College standout Tim Schaller to get some top-6 forward time on the Krejci line as well, but he’s just posted a single assist in the last three games while working hard to keep up offensively with David Krejci and David Backes. The 6-foot-2, 219-pound Schaller has the grittiness to do the dirty work for that line in the corners and in front of the net, and he can certainly skate well enough for a big, energy forward.
“To think this was going to happen, I would say ‘no’,” said Schaller when asked if he could have predicted at the start of the season that he’d be getting a look from the B’s in a top-6 role. “I’ve been able to play with whoever and whenever my whole career. I wouldn’t want to say it’s one of those things that I had expected, but I’m always ready for it.
“We’ve been working pretty well together. I don’t know that we’ve had too many great [offensive] opportunities to capitalize on, but Backes and Krejci are good enough players that they’ll come. They’re good enough to bury on those chances, so the goals will come. I’m always going to play the same way no matter who I’m with. Those guys might have the puck on their sticks a little longer than other linemates of mine, but that will just create more space and opportunities.”
So Spooner and Schaller bring different strengths and weaknesses to the table as the B’s coaching staff searches for the right fit alongside Krejci and Backes, and Julien sounds like a coach that’s going to keep swinging back and forth between the two players. He certainly did that with Spooner during the third period in Philly, which led to an immediate goal for Krejci in the third period comeback, and toward the end of the Carolina win with the B's desperate for offense.
Julien also didn’t rule out Matt Beleskey getting another look there as well with the Bruins having a tough time finding anybody to consistently fill Loui Eriksson’s role from last season.
“At times I don’t think that offense has been producing much because maybe it’s lacking a little bit of speed at that time, so you put Spooner back up there. But sometimes you feel like that line isn’t winning enough battles or spending enough time in the offensive zone, so you put Schaller back in there because he’s going to play a little grittier. So we’re looking there,” said Julien. “We’d love to be able to find somebody to be a consistent player there. We’ve had Matt Beleskey there and that line never really did anything.
“[Beleskey] has been much better on the [third] line and he’s been getting more chances, so I’ve been trying to put the best scenario together, I guess. Sometimes it’s the situation and sometimes it’s the matchup [against the other team] as well. So there are different reasons for that. I’ve just got to make it work. If it’s working with [Schaller] on that night then you stick with it, and if you don’t think you’re getting enough then you move [Spooner] there and see if you can a little spark with some speed. It doesn’t mean Beleskey won’t go back there. That’s what we have right now.”
So it’s clear Julien, and the B’s coaching staff, have simply tried to find something that will work on a consistent basis with a couple of key offensive players on Boston’s second most important forward line. The one wild card in all of this: the impending return of Frank Vatrano, who has been skating for nearly two weeks as he works toward a return from foot surgery.
Vatrano was initially penciled in as the left winger alongside Krejci to start NHL camp this fall, and the Bruins were hoping he was going to build on the eight goals he scored in Boston last season in a limited role.
Vatrano could be ready to play within the next couple of weeks, and should be back in the B’s lineup prior to the early January timetable originally offered at the time of his surgery. So perhaps the 22-year-old Vatrano can end this season-long carousel of Bruins left wingers getting paraded on and off the Krejci line, and finally give the B’s greater options at left wing.
But the Czech playmaking center could use some stability also as he looks to find the highest level of his game in a challenging year for the Black and Gold, and do it while the Bruins find the right kind of talent to skate alongside him.